15 Dec 2010

Police still meeting mine recovery costs

9:36 am on 15 December 2010

Police say they are continuing to meet the costs of recovery efforts at the Pike River Coal mine as the handover phase with receivers and other agencies continues.

Police management want to hand control of the operation to the company, Pike River Coal, which announced on Monday it was in receivership.

All production had stopped at the mine following the explosions last month in which 29 mine workers were killed.

The company's receivers are seeking meetings to persuade the Government to foot the bill for the recovery operation, but Prime Minister John Key has said the issue is complicated and legal advice is being taken.

Meanwhile, police are still paying for the operation of the GAG machine, a modified jet engine being used to neutralise dangerous gases in the mine, and have arranged for a nitrogen generator unit to be brought in from Australia.

Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations Grant Nicholls said in a statement on Tuesday that police will consider costs incurred by suppliers who have contributed to the emergency response and recovery effort.

"While we are in a hand over phase, with the receivers, the mining company and other agencies, we are still continuing to co-ordinate efforts to get the mine into a safe state," Mr Nicholls said.